Badminton, Burghley Winner Produces Positive Drug Test

Traces of the tranquilizer drug reserpine were found in a blood sample from Clifton Promise.
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Eventing champion Jonathan “Jock” Paget of New Zealand has been suspended after one of his mounts tested positive for a banned substance following this year’s Burghley Horse Trials.

Paget, who won both the 2013 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May and the 2013 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September riding 14-year-old gelding Clifton Promise, received news from his national federation Monday (Oct. 14) that he has been suspended until further notice. The national federation was also notified Monday by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) of the findings.

Traces of the tranquilizer drug reserpine were found in a blood sample from Clifton Promise, drawn Sept. 8 at the close of the Burghley Horse Trials. While this first sample, labeled the “A” sample, has been deemed positive, no definite sanctions will be given to the 29-year-old rider until his case has been considered by the FEI tribunal, an FEI representative said. As the “person responsible,” Paget has exercised his right to request an analysis of a “B” sample (a second blood sample taken at the same time as the "A" sample), the FEI representative told The Horse. Results of that analysis are expected “as soon as possible,” the FEI representative said. The FEI tribunal will hear the case after the "B" sample results are revealed.

If the "B" sample is positive, Paget faces a 2-year suspension from all international competitions, as well as a fine, the FEI representative said. The amount of the fine would be determined by the tribunal at the time of the hearing. Additionally, Clifton Pinot, a 13-year-old gelding ridden to 14th place at this year’s Burghley Horse Trials by Australian Kevin McNab, also tested positive at the same event, for the same substance

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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